2020 the Halloween year

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Worldwide, everyone is wearing a mask; even the Venetian carnival couldn’t imagine it. The eyes without a face syndrome had become synonymous to citizenship. By uncovering the failure of the world medical system, facing a pandemic is a confusion between a patronizing totalitarianism and medical emergency.

Until now, the origin of the pandemic is still unknown. However, what is clear now, it the fault of capitalism in its current form, at least for the last 10 years. When absolutely everything is salable, including people’s health and freedom, then Covid19 did us a great favour in spite of its ugliness. The virus demystified what we thought was the ultimate success. The “phantom of the opera” in its 2020 version.

2020 is the Halloween year: the US presidential elections anyone? The uprise of racism and fanaticism? Decapitation of a history teacher down the street? Corruption? Climate change and pollution?

Wearing masks helped unmasking the perverted political systems.

The hypocrisy of the “politically correct”

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As much as provocation is less needed nowadays due to sensitive issues, the politically correct attitude is nevertheless as harmful. When a cat for example can’t be called a cat but “a furry four-legged domestic feline” then there is a problem.

The problem is that the purpose of discourse or art is deviated from its original objectives: expression, communication, truth. We are then left with sugar coated words and art that is lifeless.

Music can tell readdress the dilemma here. Let’s go back musically to not farfetched decades: the 80s and the 90s. Artists back then promoted all types of passions: love was a lot of love, anger was brutal, and sadness was depressive; joy was more than joyful and darkness was terrifying. Along this musical, poetic and visual process, all those passions (especially dark ones) went through sublimation. In Freudian terms, sublimation is a defense mechanism that reduces anxiety through the transformation of aggressive impulses into artistic, intellectual and spiritual activities.  

Look at music now. Apart from happy few artists, music has become politically correct. Is it the result of our anxious world or did it help in provoking anxiety and violence?

How do you survive the age of propaganda?

It’s no secret the digital world is an atmosphere rich with messages. We are told all sorts of different things every day but none of these messages come with plenty of information or explanations.Such an overload of generalized information only further increases our predisposition toward laziness and exacerbates our failure to properly consider what we’re […]

How do you survive the age of propaganda?

From Mothers To Witches | Exploring Traditional Female Roles In Literature

Written by Lay Sion Ng @ Issues Under Tissues Chinese Malaysian, American Literature at Osaka University, Japan.   Traditional Female Roles in Literature: An Introduction   In the earliest works of literature, the basic roles of females are frequently determined through their relation to men. The submissive ones were rewarded while the rebellious ones were […]

From Mothers To Witches | Exploring Traditional Female Roles In Literature

The philosophy of the doormat

It is peculiar to put the words philosophy and doormat in one sentence. But the truth of a doormat goes deeper to what meets the eye.

A doormat is a mat placed in a doorway, on which people can wipe their shoes on entering a building. They wipe their shoes from dust, mud and bacteria or viruses brought back from the outside. A doormat is then a cleaning mat; that’s the superficial way to understand what it is. However, a doormat is way beyond its wiping function.

A doormat is the separation between the inside and the outside, the private and the public. At the start, the public meant nature where people used to work or spend their days. If we praise nature now, it was not the case longtime ago. Back then and still to this day, nature was synonymous to dirt, dust and dangerous creatures. Residents in houses with gardens know exactly that definition, a doormat in every doorway, daily swiping the floor from sand and dead leaves, tracking insects and spraying pesticides. The same goes for all the daily hygiene because the idea of nature is dirt. Deodorant smells better than natural body odor.

Humans built culture as opposed to nature. They built a world that stands between nature and them, a world that is a mirror to humans. A doormat separates culture from nature.

Breaking traditions and breaking free

Traditions, what are they for?

Traditions are an endless repetition of an event, a behaviour, an action or just a way of being based on a cultural idea brought to light by society over generations. Repeating is cementing an identity, a cultural heritage and an ideology. Christmas tree, white wedding dress, Sunday family lunch for example and much more are Christian traditions and collective consciousness (to pick this concept from Marx0 perpetuated even by non Christians. It does tell then how religions in general shaped up and influenced our daily life until this present day.

Are traditions bad? Some are and some aren’t. However what is bad about traditions in general is limiting individual freedom. Identity goes deeper and wider than its social characteristics (nationality, race, religion etc.) and it is linked to individual freedom. Not only a background defines a person but this person does, what lessons they learned from their experiences, what they have been through and so on. Therefore, identity and freedom are beyond traditions and repetitions. They are endlessly evolving.

This is why, breaking free and “becoming who you are” to rephrase Nietzsche is to break free from traditions or at least to make the latter work for you and not the other way around.

Ibn Khaldun and the Crisis of Modernity

Ibn Khaldun was a fourteenth century historiographer, sociologist, economist, and philosopher. Born in a turbulent time when the remnants of the Umayyad Caliphate in Iberia and North Africa were either collapsing or under extensive pressure internally and externally (corruption and European invasion and crusades), Ibn Khaldun set out to chronicle a sociology of the rise […]

Ibn Khaldun and the Crisis of Modernity

The invisible people

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Human history mentioned invisible people without mentioning them. The mass, the vast majority, the anonymous are mainly forgotten in all walks of life.

In Plato’s “Allegory of the cave”, the invisible people are left to their destiny, choosing between comfort and manipulation or the arduous journey of freedom made by Socrates, the only visible one.

The invisible slaves changed history with Spartacus, the visible slave.

Mandela, The King, Gandhi are still vividly visible men of salvation and justice.

The invisible people are the people we choose not to look at. Beggars and homeless are faceless and nameless people of the modern world.

History, ethics, philosophy taught us that ideals of justice and equality are to fight for. However, society is still based on hierarchy, on visibility and invisibility.

The real force lies in the invisible world!

Mimesis, the foundation of a society

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A society is a coexistence of people sharing services, values, institutions and a culture. Being born in a society or choosing to live in a new one requires an implicit agreement, better known as the Social Contract. The latter is the guarantee of the vivre-ensemble or the living together through the daily interactions.

On a deeper level, people are a number of persons; a number of many minds and desires. Far from being peaceful by nature, people will naturally become competitive. The paradox of wanting to be alone and dealing with others is what Immanuel Kant named “The Unsociable sociability” which is, according to him, the core motivation for the evolution of a society. Therefore competition is essential in the dynamic of a society.  To understand this paradox, some questions need to be asked:

What is the real cause of competition? How come do we always want to compete in one way or another?

The answer is mimesis. But before analyzing it, one needs to understand that the driving force of any action is desire. Hegel noted that the real underlying desire, the desire behind all desires, is the desire of recognition. In other words, no one wishes to be invisible. So whatever one desires to achieve (to buy, to possess, to try etc.) targets the recognition of others for the achievement. This idea explains why there are ranking positions in the professional world, in schools, in sports and in social media. That being said, any achievement will eventually attract from others the desire to be imitated.

Mimesis means imitation and its root is to be found in the desire of recognition. To put it simply, one desires what the other one does or has. Let’s say my neighbour bought a beautiful car and got all the attention and the recognition desired; this will motivate me to do something bigger, maybe buying a more beautiful car to get my neighbour’s recognition first than others’. The “I want what the other has” explains why people in relationships are desired. It explains jealousy and envy. It explains why the fashion industry hires celebrities to wear their clothes.

Mimesis draws a triangle relationship between the subject and the object of desire through the object’s owner. The aim is recognition. Even the ones who live against the mainstream want somehow to be recognized as the “the ones against the mainstream”.  This will lead us to ask a different question:

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